Archive for the ‘From the Internet’ Category

Heat Wave

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

Tomorrow, the official high temperature is expected to be 89 degrees, but temperatures could easily climb above that, said Rebecca Gould, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Taunton.

Regardless of how hot it gets, meteorologists are confident that temperatures will be in the 90s for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, meaning the region will meet the definition of a heat wave, which is three consecutive days with temperatures in the 90s.

So this is officially what qualifies as a heat wave in Boston, this was news to me. Does this mean I am allowed to complain about it being 89 when the rest of the country is complaining about it being 100? I think it does. No wonder I love it here. Maybe I won’t have to wear long pants to the July beach fire this year.

Monday, May 30th, 2011

A while back, my college room mate Chris informed me that in June of 2011 his registration and hosting of, the longtime home of my blog would lapse, and that he would not renew the domain. I pretty much could not complain, after all, 3+ years of free hosting is a pretty good deal. But here it is, June all of a sudden and I had to move. I’ve moved in with another good friend of mine, who already had some space lying around. Although, this time I am paying my fair share, whatever that amounts to. Much thanks to Sparky.

The move also caused me to get on the ball and finally lock up the domain name, which I have desired since 2002, but didn’t register until today. By my count, waiting these 9 years while allowing anyone and everyone else in the world ample opportunity to snap up my desired host name has saved me $89.55. I’m not sure if that was worth the risk, but whatever, I like to live dangerously. Anyways, be sure to update your links, bookmarks, rss feeds, ect…

Damn Vulcan Ears

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

The picture says it all:

Yesterday, this hot picture showed up in my news feed, and I “liked it”. Today, and probably forever more, I now get to enjoy this clearly pandering ad. I know it’s your business model, and I would never have met her without Facebook, but it does suck more than a little.

Lost Valentines

Sunday, February 13th, 2011

There are a whole host of Lost and 24 valentines over at The 24 ones don’t do anything for me, but the Lost ones are great (mostly), especially the one copied above. Oh Lost.

In other TV news I’m using the 2 seasons of Better Off Ted to fill in while I decide what long term commitment to make.

Not Cheating

Monday, November 29th, 2010

In this video, which I found via, a class of 600 students is accused of widespread cheating. The results of their midterm were thrown away, and they were required to take a new midterm. Also, they attempted to identify the cheaters by name, some 200 students, but offered amnesty to those who admitted guilt. The “cheating” was discovered when someone placed a copy of the “complete set of test bank questions” for the exam in the professor’s mailbox, and was suspected based on the grade distribution.

Now, hold on. I no way is what they did cheating. Lets list the ways you can cheat on a test:

  • Copy someone else’s answer(s)
  • Use a written, electronic, or other method to view a copy of the answers or any other disallowed information during the test
  • Use a tool, such as a calculator or cell phone, when use of that tool is not permitted
  • Acquire or transmit information about the test from someone who has taken it prior to you, or while you are taking the test

Note, that use of a set of questions which may or may not appear on the test as a study guide prior to the test is not a method by which one can cheat on a test. It is a method by which one can study for the test. It does not matter where this list of questions comes from. It does not matter what the probability of appearing on the test any one, or the collective set of questions has, may have, or is expected to have. Unless you bring this material to the test, and use it during the test, it is not cheating. The fact that the entire class did not study via this method is not any indication of cheating; the entire class should study via this method. It is highly recommended to view a professor’s previous tests while studying for a test. This is a tried and true method; tests are passed down year to year for this purpose. However, a prior year’s test is nothing more than a list of questions. It is no different from a set of questions acquired from a test bank. This class did not cheat, and their scores have been thrown out in error. Those scores should stand. The students who did not study using a set of questions or prior year’s tests have learned a valuable lesson to do so in the future.

I would argue, that any student who wants a quality education should in fact use this method as it provides a free market incentive demanding a better education. Also, any student who wants a quality education should likely not attend the University of Central Florida, although; if you have to live in Florida, I do realize there are not a lot of options once you count out Florida and Miami as I would have you do ;-). The professor in this case is really the one at fault. He created a test which relied heavily on “Test Bank” questions. That is, the same test questions appear year in and year out, and maybe also on tests at other schools. A higher quality education would be provided by a professor who took the time to personalize both his course, and his tests. His tests should include a preponderance of questions which do not appear in their exact form at other schools, and in previous years. The class should be tailored to the students, and as such topics that have not been covered or tested in previous instances should occur. By studying from previous questions sets, if a professor fails to provide such a test/class then the grades in that class will be inflated, and the class will be considered easy. It is considered easy because it does not properly provide a quality education to the level of students taking the class. If the professor desires to avoid this sort of situation, and provide a quality education, he should make up his own, new tests every time. If he does this, then studying previous tests and using questions sets is still invaluable to the students, as it does prepare them for the kind of questions they will face, but it does not inflate grades, as the students are still required to understand the material in order to answer the different questions that appear on the test.

Anyone who argues that this is simply to difficult for high school teachers or professors to do, is forgetting that their job is provide a high quality education. If they were doing their job, this wouldn’t happen. The fact that they may not be paid highly enough to compensate them for the time that providing a quality education, and writing their own unique tests may take is another story entirely. None of this means that anyone who used the question set to study for that class cheated. Now, maybe someone in that class did copy answers from someone who studied using a question set; such a person would have indeed cheated.

Christmas Music

Thursday, November 25th, 2010

In my family, we traditionally wait until the car ride from Louisville to Cincinnati following thanksgiving to begin listening to Christmas music. Traditionally black friday, or the nicest day of the rest of the long weekend is for stringing up Christmas lights. Since I don’t haven’t been going home for thanksgiving recently, I’ve sadly, been missing out on these traditions, but I’m not missing out on the music! A favorite from the traditional car tunes set:

Bonus, another excellent way to kick off the season, All I Want for Christmas is You.

Cotton, the WTO, and You Tube

Friday, November 19th, 2010

I want to share 3 links I uncovered over the past 6 months, 2 of them this week, one thanks to Kara, about the World Trade Organization, how it works, and what Google wants to do with it.

First, an NPR Planet Money podcast about Cotton. The Planet Money team is trying to buy cotton from a cotton farmer, and they get caught up a whirlwind of intentional politics, economics, and enforcement.

Second, if you think cotton is the only industry where this has happens, this re-cap peice from Arstechnica last March sets the record straight about the myriad of WTO claims against the US, which we have ignored or paid off.

Some commentary before we move on. Farm subsidy are awful, economically, you shouldn’t need me to explain that. So we should comply with the WTO decision on cotton. The Antigua ruling about on-line gambling is likewise an easy choice, we should repeal the law and come into compliance. On-line gambling remains legal in Nevada even under the current law, and horse racing exemption make the current policy inconsistent at best. Cuban sanctions should have been lifted long ago, along with all their associated cruft. Now, the music issue, its strange. I think its the Europeans who are wrong on this count, but our radio payment system also needs an overhaul for other reasons. But the real reason why we want a better record for complying with the WTO is because of China, Turkey, and Pakistan.

All of those countries engage in internet censorship. Specifically they have blocked in the past. This Arstechnica piece describes how Google, owner of You Tube, sees that as a very specific trade embargo. If I were the WTO, and based on the Antigua case I would accept that argument and rule against those countries for censorship as it ruled against us. That, if the WTO rulings were enforceable, would be a really great way to force China and the Islamic world to stop censorship, something that sweet talking about human rights has not accomplished in the least.

It all comes down to the Rodrik Hypothesis, which I increasingly see reason to beleive may be accurate. It states roughly that:

Economic globalization, political democracy, and the nation-state are mutually irreconcilable. We can have at most two at one time. Democracy is compatible with national sovereignty only if we restrict globalization. If we push for globalization while retaining the nation-state, we must jettison democracy. And if we want democracy along with globalization, we must shove the nation-state aside and strive for greater international governance.

In this case, as with most that I am prone to like, we are going the globalization + democray route by getting rid of the nation-state. Making the WTO rules enforceable over the sovereignty of the nation-state has the essential action of eliminating what makes a nation-state a nation-state.

Google Instant Search

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

Today Google unveiled Instant Search, which shows results as you type in the search box. I decided to try out a very simple test case to see how it did. I chose the test case “How do I turn off Google Instant Search”, and some shorter versions “Turn off Google Instant Search” and “Google Instant Search Off.” Surprisingly google instant search requires the user type out the entire query for these sure to be popular search terms before returning any useful results. The entire point of Google instant search is to provide results before the user hast to type out the entire query. I’m sure in a few days this fail will be corrected, after some 25% of the internet starts searching for how to make things go back to the way they used to be.

Targeted Advertisement Fail

Friday, July 16th, 2010

Although 85% of teens experiance some from of acne it doesn't have to be a rite of passage for your teen.

How many people with teen-aged children do they think there are on Ok Cupid?

Certainly there are people with children on the site. Overwhelmingly these children are toddlers from the random sample of profiles I’ve come across. Note, that is not a statistically random sample at all, but still the number can not be that high. Plus, I was logged in; the site knows for sure that I don’t have any children, let alone teen-aged children. Now, acne could be something people using online dating sites in general might worry about, but I think I would use a different angle to target that audience. Maybe this ad was just not tagged correctly and the software is fine, but in any case, showing me that add is a fail.

Yo, Dawg This is Just Great

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

I found this on reddit today:

It just makes me so happy to see all this censorship bullshit in a memebrid with the Xzibit Sup Dawg meme. Over the past two days You Tube and Facebook were blocked by Pakistan for hosting images of the Prophet Muhammad. I am completely and totally against censorship, especially this particular instance. Here are some reasons:

  • If no pictures of the prophet were ever allowed, how could we know what he looks like. If you draw a picture and claim it is of the prophet, but it is not of the prophet, then you are a liar, but there is no harm, no foul. Based on my understanding of the rules, only actual pictures of the prophet are bared, and if we don’t know what he looks like cause no pictures exist, then all pictures that claim to exist must not be of the prophet.
  • Ok, Ok, actual reasons to follow…
  • This is sort of like tolerance. The Catholic church teaches tolerance, all Catholics must always be tolerant of other peoples and cultures and respect their laws and customs. But, in carrying out this teaching, the church is failing to tolerate intolerance, which is a culture who’s customs and laws must be respected. Similarly, the Muslims, who I assume also teach tolerance, are being intolerant of our culture, in which images of the prophet are both allowed, and sometimes hilarious. Now, maybe we are breaking our own laws about tolerance by breaking their laws, but we already break our own laws about tolerance, so that must be ok.

I think my real point is that this is all really stupid. We are allowed freedom of speech as a basic right. Anyone who wants to play ball on the world internet stage needs to respect this. If you don’t want to play ball because we say things you don’t like, you are welcome to not play ball with us. That is what Pakistan has done; its fine. But you know, if we don’t want to play ball with you later, I don’t want to hear any complaining. I certainly can’t allow your actions to limit my future free speech through fear or any other mechanism, so don’t waste our time trying.

Just be more tolerant, and maybe we won’t break your cultural laws just for the lols. But as long as you’re intolerant of one of our most basic rights/laws, we’ll be intolerant of yours for no reason other than to point out that you should be more tolerant. Clearly, someone hast to make the first move, but it won’t be us because a more open society is always preferable to a more closed one. That is progress and you are welcome to hop on the bus anytime you like, cause its an open society, that’s the whole idea.